The Walker Brothers

The Walker Brothers were an American pop-vocal band from Los Angeles that moved to England in the mid-1960s and scored hits on the UK chart, including “My Ship Is Coming In,” “Make It Easy on Yourself,”  and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”. After three albums, frontman Scott Walker launched a solo career.

During the mid-1970s, the Walker Brothers (not actually related) regrouped for three more albums. They scored a UK hit with “No Regrets” (later covered by Midge Ure) and charted new sonic waters on the 1978 release Night Flights.

Members: Scott Walker (lead vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards), Gary Walker (drums, vocals), John Walker (guitar, vocals)


They formed in Los Angeles in 1964 as the Walker Brothers Trio, consisting of singer/bassist Scott Engel, singer/guitarist John Maus, and drummer Al “Tiny” Schneider (also of surf-rockers The Bel-Aires). Maus first used Walker as his stagename several years earlier after obtaining a fake ID under the name “John Walker.” He suggested the “Brothers” moniker as a marketing ploy.

Engel (1943–2019) first recorded as a teenager in the late 1950s, cutting a string of “teen idol” pop singles on Orbit. In 1961, he co-founded the instrumental rock band The Routers.

Maus (1943–2011) issued a string of pop/doo-wop singles with his sister, Judy, in the duo John and Judy, active from 1958 to 1962. After he met Engel, they briefly played as Judy and the Gents. During 1963, Engel and Maus played in a touring lineup of The Surfaris, but didn’t play on the band’s records.

As the Walker Brothers, they quickly dropped “Trio” from the name and signed to Mercury. With Maus on vocals, they debuted with “Pretty Girls Everywhere.” They played a residency at Gazzari’s Club in Hollywood and appeared on the TV music programs Shindig! and Ninth Street a Go Go.

In late 1964, they were joined by drummer Gary Leeds (b. 1942), an early member of garage-rockers The Standells. He had just backed singer P.J. Proby on a tour of the UK, where he witnessed the thriving beat scene. At his urging, they chose Great Britain as their target market. Before departing, they cut a second single, “Love Her,” with producer Nick Venet and arranger Jack Nitzsche. On this single, Engel asserts himself as lead vocalist.

On a trip funded by Leed’s father, the Walker Brothers flew to England in February 1965. Once there, they met with producer Johnny Franz, who signed them to Philips, a division of Mercury. For marketing purposes, Engel and Leeds agreed to use the Walker surname.


Discography:

  • Take It Easy with The Walker Brothers (1965)
  • Introducing The Walker Brothers (1965) (1st US album)
  • Portrait (1966)
  • The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore (1966) (2nd US album)
  • Images (1967)
  • No Regrets (1975)
  • Lines (1976)
  • Nite Flights (1978)

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